The Best Prog Bands You’ve Never Heard Of (Part Eight): Mirthrandir


This next band is from a place not too far from my home state of Connecticut – New Jersey.  In 1976, six guys from the Garden State formed Mirthrandir and released their first and only album, For You the Old Women.  It’s a shame they never released another, because this album features top notch musicianship. No two songs sound alike, thanks in part to the diverse harmonies produced by trumpet, flute, and two guitars.  The group certainly created a distinct sound: an amalgam of Starcastle and Gentle Giant.  Mirthrandir mixed the Yes-like (and more accessible) sound of the former with the complexity and versatility of the latter, creating a fantastic album. And now to the songs:

For You the Old Women – the first song on the album bursts forth with energy, smoothly transitions to a more tranquil mood, then picks up the pace again; solid drum work by Robert Arace throughout the piece

Conversation With Personality Giver – another quirky title for a quirky album; explosive opening featuring a barrage of drums and keys; fine bass work from James Miller

Light of the Candle – shortest and most “radio friendly” song on the album, yet it is as complex as all the other pieces; great guitar work from Richard Excellente and Alexander Romanelli

Number Six – wonderful flute intro for this fun, rocking instrumental piece; great work on the trumpet from James Vislocky; keys and synthesizer sound similar to Richard Tandy’s work (of ELO fame)

For Four – last and best song; a sweeping epic featuring great keyboard, bass, and guitar work

Few bands (even in the progressive realm) feature both trumpet and flute in their repertoire, but Mirthrandir pulled it off with amazing dexterity. Despite having released only one album, the band reunited in 2005 and played at BajaProg in 2006 and ProgDay in 2008. For those who enjoy catchy and complex melodies, this is for you: